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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 11:59 GMT
Turkish elections: What does the result mean for Turkey?
Talking Point: Turkish elections
The Islamist-based Justice and Development Party (AK) has won a convincing victory in Turkey's general elections, paving the way for the country's first single-party government for 15 years.

The AK party will have 363 of the 550 seats in parliament - just a few seats short of the two-thirds needed to change the constitution.

But it is not clear how the new government will take shape, as AK's leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is banned from holding public office in Turkey.

Turkey's outgoing Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit conceded defeat, saying he was not surprised at the result.

Many Turks blamed the established parties for creating the economic crisis which brought unemployment and poverty over past two years.

What difference do you think the election outcome will make?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

The prospect of a non-nationalist party in charge of Turkey is really exciting. Will it be possible for our two countries to resolve our differences at last? Or will the Turkish generals prove once again that Turkey is only a democracy by name? AKP must certainly show great skills in diplomacy to stay in power, I wish them all the luck...
Konstantinos, Greece

The current state of Turkey proved that change was necessary. I am glad that this time change was achieved through democratic means. I just hope that AKP will put aside the issue of religion and deal with economy and EU membership. Religion never fed people. Turkey needs an economical revolution. As long as the job is done AKP's background should not matter.
Zorlu, England

More than anything else, this overwhelming victory by one Turkish party means the end, at least for the time being, of the series of fractious and short-lived coalition governments in Turkey that provided that country with a new coalition each year. Hopefully, this will mean a strong, stable government that will be able to provide Turkey with the continuity, pluralism and progress it needs
Suhail Shafi, Malta


The Turkish people were fed up with seeing the old faces in politics over and over again for the last three decades

Dilek, London, U.K.
I don't have a good feeling about AKP having the majority of the seats in the Turkish National Assembly. I think there is a lot of uncertainty for the future. However, the Turkish people were fed up with seeing the old faces in politics over and over again for the last three decades. This is a clear message to tell the old guard to get out.
Dilek, London, U.K.

The ordinary people in Turkey are struggling to survive after the recent economic crisis. They don't much bother about voting for Islamists or liberal democrats. In this election voters have punished the ones who didn't succeed and AK Party would likely to join them in the next election if they do not reflect the ordinary citizens' voice.
Emre Bilgin, London,UK

That's what happens when you make a nation wait for 40 years at the doorsteps of the EU. People of Turkey are simply fed up with unconvincing delaying tactics of European governments. The Copenhagen summit is the last chance to make Turkey feel that they have a place in Europe, otherwise the Western community may lose a key ally. Remember Iran, and believe me, losing Turkey will be even more catastrophic.
Ian Connell, UK

After the military coup in 1980, lots of religious schools were opened, lots of young kids were sent to religious schools instead of state schools. The so-called secular army was aware of that. They did not stop it, because they thought it was a good way of stopping Turkish Socialist getting into power. This is the end result. Failure of the so-called secular system, corrupt politicians and US policies. It serves them right.
Ozgur Polat, Australia

About 50% of the electorate are not going to be represented in the parliament because of the 18 parties in the election. Until this number is reduced this type of anomaly, i.e. the party with one third of the votes has two thirds of the MPs.
Alan Hirst, Turkey

This was an important election for the maturation of Turkish democracy. In what was a fair and transparent election, the AKP received the most votes of any other party and are now set to rule on their own. You might not agree with their politics but all those that would support democratic process must support this election's results. If you don't agree with their politics then you can use the democratic mechanisms in place in Turkey to promote your own views.
Gökhan Karakus, Istanbul, Turkey


AK will have to be doubly careful for they alone will carry the responsibility for their own policies

Onur Gursel, Turkey
In the last three elections the electorate have given a chance to three untried parties: first to the radical Islam RP, then to the ultra-nationalist MHP and now to the moderate-Islamist AK. All they are saying is that they are fed up with the old guard and want an honest and truly democratic government. The first two parties have let the electorate down and paid the price. Now AK has been given a chance. They will have to be doubly careful for they alone will carry the responsibility for their own domestic and foreign policies.
Onur Gursel, Turkey

Turkey's system is not based on secularism as known in the West - it is secular fundamentalism which denies the Muslim believers the rights they have in every non-Muslim European nation. The election result is an inevitable consequence of this.
Hamid Ahmed, London, UK

I think Turkish people have chosen the best party to lead them. They have found their real leader. Turkish people don't believe the words of any other politicians except Erdogan.
Bayram O, Turkey

How can the EU be blamed for the people of Turkey electing a moderate Islamic government? It is because of the failings of the previous governments and the military leaders of Turkey that the AK party has been elected. Hopefully, the AK party will be constructive in sorting out Turkey's internal and external problems without resorting to blaming the EU like previous governments.
Mark, London, UK

I hope that the Turkish military accepts the new government. If the claims by the AK party to be secularised are true, we might hope they become a Muslim analogue of Europe's Christian Democratic parties. The alternative is to have a military coup. The Algerian army tried this against a democratically elected Islamic government, and the results have been dreadful.
P, Bermuda

The new government was chosen by the people of Turkey, not in a back-room deal made by a political elite. I believe that a government should genuinely represent the wishes of the people first before any entrenched ideology. This is clearly the case in Turkey, and as such I hope others in Europe will join me in welcoming it.
Simon Hibbs, England


It was time to change the government

Ahmet, Denmark
The people made their choice - in a democratic election... Everybody must respect that! Like many other Turks I believe it was time to change the government in Turkey, and time will show whether it turns out to be good or not!
Ahmet, Denmark

We cannot ignore the fact that even though the AKP is the party now to form government in Turkey. Not only did 65% of Turkey vote for another party around 50% of the Turkish electorate will not be represented by this new parliament due to the seriously flawed electoral system. This is not new, however it would have been an even more serious issue if the winning party had secured the number of seats required to be able to make changes to the Turkish constitution. The European Union needs to awaken and help Turkey by inclusive and positive policy as opposed to the exclusionist format it has pursued with the case of Turkey for the last 4 decades. Not only Turkey but European stability deserves this.
Elif Toker-Turnalar, England

Not giving a date to Turkey for entering EU has made AKP the first party in elections. I think EU must think now what to do, because Turkey is the only secular and democratic country in the region. EU needs Turkey, but unfortunately just because Turkey is a Muslim country, EU doesn't give Turkey a date. In my opinion there is no need to be afraid of AKP, just because its an Islamic party, because the control is always going to be under the army... sad but true...
kanat, Turkey-Istanbul


I believe that this new structure of the parliament could be more powerful

Ozgur Mulazimoglu, Turkey
Although I was never on the side of the AK Party, after the results I believe that this new structure of the parliament could be more powerful to bring Turkeys economy to a better position and more near to the EU. I guess no-one must have a fear against the AK party. Because everything was democratic and everyone must have respect on this. All to do now is wait and see what they will do for Turkey. I hope they will do the best and lots of people will be blushed. Regards and Peace...
ozgur mulazimoglu, Turkey

Democracy is a sham. The West propagate it, but when the results aren't favourable, the Western countries stand to attention. Let the people govern their own country and stop interfering. If radicals, racists, terrorists come into power, well that's democracy for you. You have to accept the faults of your system, or stop enforcing this dictatorship policy!
Jack Dean, UK

Most secular Turks believe that Turkey has been excluded and discriminated against by the European Union. The failure of the EU to provide Turkey with a set date for the start of accession negotiations played into the hands of the anti-EU forces in Turkey. This is the biggest factor which has contributed the election victory of the AK Party. Disillusioned, economically desperate people saw no other hope than the mildly Islamist, and populist demagogues of the AK party leaders for a better future.
Kaan, Cyprus

As a Turkish citizen, I have serious concerns about the possible consequences of election results. I am happy that Turkish Army is still so powerful and stands for Turkey keeping it away from Islamist political regimes.
Basak, USA

This is the result of bad governing of previous governments. Turkey can handle it as we did many times in the past. Turkey has a very secular and democratic structure. And it will continue with AKP or without AKP.
Mehmet, Turkey


The people of Turkey are now choosing their own path

Michael, USA
This should all be blamed on the EU. Why? Because if Turkey was granted or considered entry to the EU then this situation will be different. I cannot believe the former communist countries in Eastern Europe was considered and not Turkey. Turkey is much more prepared for entry than the Eastern European countries, the people are just fed up of being left in the dark, the people of Turkey are now choosing their own path.
Michael, USA

I believe that the people have made the best choice in these elections as AKP is the only party who wants real democracy without corruption or interference from the army. Many people think that AKP is a radical Islamist party but it is not.
Aydin, Netherlands

The West has reaped what it has sown. The flagrant disregard of public opinion in the region by the US, as this result demonstrates, shows why they are happy to support dictatorship in the so-called "moderate" Arab states in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
Geoffrey Payne, United Kingdom

Turkish people voted for a new party (AK Party) as revenge for the corruption of the spoiled politicians of the previous governments. The results of the last election show that people popularly want to clean up this corruption from their country.
T. Gunduz, USA

The main reason why AKP done this well is because the public are rebelling against the current government and due to the leader of AKP, Mr Erdogan, having been in the media everyday because of his legal problems. CHP the only other party to pass the 10% barrier would have been the most suited party to govern Turkey in which is going to be a very difficult task for any government.
Ozan D, London, England

It is democratic...I voted today and I believe that everyone is going to respect the results. It is not voters' concern whether or not the result would please others. I want to live in a democratic and prosperous Turkey and voted keeping that in mind.
Ahmet A. Kozanoglu, Turkey

The unfair western policies towards muslim nations are to blame (or thanks to their policies) for the upsurgence of pro-Islamic parties through democratic elections in Pakistan, Turkey and more muslim nations to follow.
NA, USA

The Attaturk system once saved the nation of Turkeys demise, it will save it again. By not giving way to radicals in Turkey, it will ensure that Turkey will progress with the world standards of today and tomorrow. If the this Radical party wins, their views and doctrines are already against the Turkish constitution. The Kurdish issue, well how about if Liverpool wanted to breakaway from London.
Real Guard, Australia

A huge majority of the people in Turkey beleives that if JDP (Justice and Develeopment Party or AKP) wins, it will also be good for Turkey's democratisation and European Union relations. JDP is the only party who is likely to bring real democracy to Turkey. Hence,Turkey will decide between undemocratic and secular (RPP) versus democratic and secular (JDP).
B. Koselerli, Germany

Turkish intellectuals have been poisoned with the Kemalist (Ataturkculuk) idea, so the main stream parties. This ideology prevents Turkish people to understand the benefits of a democratic system. The only party who talks about democracy, as it is understood elsewhere in the world, is a political islamist party (AKP). Isn't is sad? I think people will support AKP and the US-import Dervis flavored CHP (Kemal Ataturk's old party). Both of these parties are bringing new things (although not radical) on the table. This election can be the start of Kemalist system's end.
Kivanc Emiroglu, Boston, USA (ex-Turkey)

Whichever party wins the majority, the question is, will the Armed forces of Turkey accept and not interfere on the behest of other interested parties?
Khalid Rahim, Canada

I hope that the Turkish people are going to make the best decision for their future. I believe that they are not going to choose anti-democratic parties.
Aytac Canada


There is no real democracy in Turkey

John Adma, USA
There will be no difference as long as the military is the power behind defending the old fascist regime of Kamal ATatourk. There is no real democracy in Turkey as the Kurds have been denied their civil rights and are considered second citizens. Furthermore, the justice and welfare party have been threatened that they will be banned if they win the election. Unless there is free and unhindered election, where all parties and ideologies are represented, there will be no progress and Turkey will remain a military dictatorship with a fake democratic government.
John Adma, USA

To John Adma; At first, I have to say that, you know nothing about Turkish democratic history. Turkish Republic is a secular republic which formed against the imperialist powers in 1923. Kurds have all the rights, even Turgut Ozal was Kurdish and he had been Prime Minister and President of Turkey. If you care about human rights, read American history and see what you have done to native Indians. I want to ask only one thing, if Osama Bin Laden forms a party in USA and wants to change U.S. constitution, how would you react to it?
Yusuf Miroglu, Turkey

An AK party win would be an unmitigated disaster in the only Muslim country in the world with a secular, democratic system. The best choice would be the staunchly pro-Western and secular PPR which would most likely introduce reforms needed for Turkey's membership into the EU. However, that seems unlikely. The prospect of the AK ruling in Ankara is really scary and should raise a serious concern in the West.
Mirek Kondracki, USA


I hope that somebody makes the Iraqi war an election issue

Vinay Chitnis, Poona, India
I hope that somebody makes the Iraqi war an election issue again this time. This is a very important issue, as Turkey is very close to Iraq geographically and also shares the Kurdish problem.
Vinay Chitnis, Poona, India

This election is different in the sense that it will bring a majority party in the parliament, so it won't be difficult for laws to be passed in parliament.
Serkan, Turkey

Will it be democratic?
J.B., USA

Turkey's election

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